ESSENTIAL OILS USES AND BENEFITS
WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS GOOD FOR?
Essential oils help restore a feeling of peace, balance, and happiness, and they promote the stability of hormones and emotions, whether they are used in diffusers, potpourri, candles, relaxing bath blends, massages, cosmetic applications, or for steam inhalation.
Essential oils can cleanse the home through both physical and airborne applications by combatting harmful bacteria when used in cleaning products including sprays, scented candles, or potpourri. A multi-purpose essential oil such as Lemon can tackle countless problem areas around a house such as mold and mildew, dust buildup, sticky or oily spills, and musty air. Used in dilution, it can be a floor, furniture, and countertop polish, a dusting spritz, an air-freshening spray, or a glass and mirror cleaner, acting as an effective non-toxic solution to treat and prevent the recurrence of issues in these areas.
Essential oils can help ease the suffering of those with an inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep by promoting a mental and physical sense of calm and relaxation that leads to drowsiness. Oils such as Rose, Lavender, and Ylang-ylang, which have uplifting, soothing properties to counteract dark moods, can be added to a warm bath for soaking prior to bedtime. A few drops of these or other comforting oils can also be smoothed onto bedding such as pillow covers, in order to allow the scent to be diffused and inhaled throughout the night. Otherwise, they can be diluted with water for a spray bottle and spritzed as an air freshener in the bedroom.
Essential oils have been used traditionally to fight cold and flu symptoms by inhibiting the growth and spread of bacteria and thereby boosting immunity. Some are potent enough to function as preventative measures due to their anti-bacterial activities. With appropriate dilution, they can be made into an anti-microbial air freshener to eliminate the airborne spread of germs. When added to steaming hot water and inhaled through the vapours, they may relieve sinus congestion. Cooling oils like Eucalyptus and Peppermint can even be blended into a massage ointment and rubbed onto the chest to promote easy breathing. A few drops of an oil added to a soft cloth can be held under the nose to inhale the fumes, or the oil’s aroma can be inhaled directly from its bottle.
Those in favour of all-natural products that complement or replace their commercial cosmetics can also take advantage of the benefits of essential oils. They can enhance homemade beauty products such as moisturizing creams, lotions, and soaps when they are added to recipes at the correct emulsion stages. They can be added simply for their fragrances or they can be added based on their therapeutic properties according to the user’s desired beauty ideal. They can be used for purposes ranging from stress reduction to skin protection against infections. By increasing the capacity of moisturizers to reduce the appearance of aging, essential oils promote the look of a soft, blemish-free complexion. Oils selected for customizing cosmetics are often those with healing, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and anti-septic properties that are also often believed to have cell regenerative abilities. Other potential positive results of using cosmetics infused with essential oils may include faster healing of skin conditions, relieved aches in sore muscles, improved blood circulation, and increased speed of digestion. They can be added to face masks for the purposes of detoxifying, toning, and refreshing the skin. Used in cosmetics meant for hair – such as shampoos, conditioners, and hair serums and masks – essential oils encourage the look of healthy hair. By enhancing moisture, they soothe the scalp thereby helping to relieve itchiness and redness.
When used in spiritual or religious practices, essential oils can be diffused in either electrical or classic glass jar diffusers to cleanse the immediate environment in order to enhance personal mystical experiences. Some popular essential oils for this purpose include Sandalwood, Frankincense and Patchouli among many others. Their scents can be described as woody, earthy, clean, and sweet with a hint of spiciness. They are believed to promote a sense of gratitude, awareness, enlightenment and to either calm or enliven the mood according to the desired mood for the devotional practice. The scents are reminiscent of the ancient times in which their uses began and can promote deep breathing that brings on relaxation. Other recommended oils for these devotional practices are those that have subtle aromas with warming, stimulating effects.
For medical conditions, it is recommended that a health care practitioner be consulted. The method of essential oil application depends on the particular essential oil being used, as some are irritating to skin and would be much better suited to inhalation. Another factor to consider when deciding on a method of application is the condition that is intended to be treated: wounds require dermal absorption, mood enhancement can be achieved through either topical application or inhalation, and baths implement both inhalation and dermal absorption.
Regardless of the ways in which they are used, essential oils must always be approached with caution. It is highly advisable that they be used according to appropriate dilution guidelines.
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